UC Santa Cruz chancellor will recommend lower enrollment in Final LRDP

UC Santa Cruz Acting Chancellor George R. Blumenthal will recommend reducing UCSC's proposed potential enrollment to 19,500 when he presents the campus's 2005-2020 Long-Range Development Plan to the UC Regents later in September. Compared with the earlier suggested enrollment limit of 21,000 students, this represents a 25 percent reduction in the number of additional students the campus may enroll beyond the current limitation of 15,000.

Acting Chancellor Blumenthal says potential enrollment of 19,500 by 2020 balances academic needs with community concerns

The enrollment reduction is the result of the campus's decision to revise its originally proposed LRDP and to request the UC Regents to adopt the Environmentally Superior Alternative. This Alternative includes a reduction of nearly 900,000 gross square feet of potential new campus construction, and reduces prospective water use by 22 percent compared to the originally proposed 2005 - 2020 LRDP.

"My colleagues and I at UC Santa Cruz have listened attentively to the concerns of the Santa Cruz City Council and other members of our community, " Blumenthal said. "We are committed to achieving the goals of our academic plan by creating more world-class academic programs and by providing greater access to a UC education for future students. We will do that by balancing our academic aspirations with the needs of the community in which we live."

Blumenthal said he will urge the UC Regents to approve the reduction from 21,000 to 19,500 when the board considers UCSC's Final LRDP and Final Environmental Impact Report at its September 19-21 meeting. He also noted that the 19,500 figure represents an upper envelope to growth by 2020 rather than a commitment to grow to that number of students.

"We believe the revised plan with a reduced enrollment figure and other changes maintains UCSC's commitment to deliver an excellent, yet accessible, education to California's next generation of students," Blumenthal said. "We also believe this new lower number demonstrates our desire to be responsive to concerns about the impact of growth raised during the Long-Range Development Plan process."

The Long-Range Development Plan is a land-use plan that enables the university as well as the city and county to strategically prepare for the campus's development over a 15-year period. Thoughtful planning, done in conjunction with a carefully conceived academic blueprint, enables the campus to anticipate needs, build infrastructure, and assimilate the necessary resources in an orderly program of growth, the chancellor noted.

Within the University of California system, Long-Range Development Plans are prepared to support the academic goals of individual campuses. They also take into account projected statewide enrollment demand. Much like municipal General Plans, LRDP's define a building program and a land-use map that serve as a planning framework for possible future growth.

LRDPs are not implementation plans, noted campus architect Frank Zwart, UCSC's associate vice chancellor for physical planning and construction. "The LRDP serves as a general blueprint for growth, when growth becomes necessary, " noted Zwart. "The adoption by the UC Regents of an LRDP is not a commitment to meeting the enrollment number, nor to specific projects, construction schedules, or funding priorities,"

The campus initiated its LRDP planning process in 2003. Academic planning was the primary motivation behind UCSC's updated LRDP. Consideration of academic goals informed the work of the campus's Strategic Futures Committee, a faculty-led group charged with identifying the range of academic and research programs that may emerge in UCSC's future. The committee had initially suggested that an enrollment of 25,000 at the end of the 15-year planning period would best respond to "state demographic demand and campus program aspirations." In its final report, issued in June 2004, the committee recommended the 21,000-student scenario, saying it represented a "commitment to a growth rate that is responsive, responsible, and strategic; is consistent with an emphasis on quality and with campus values-including the campus's desire to work with the Santa Cruz community to seek practical solutions to the inevitable challenges of change and growth."

The Final LRDP and Final EIR that will be presented to the Board of Regents will be posted online by late afternoon on Wednesday, September 6. The URL will be: lrdp.ucsc.edu.

Both documents also will be delivered on Wednesday afternoon to the downtown branch of the Santa Cruz Library and to UCSC's McHenry and Science & Engineering libraries). In addition, a printout or a copy of a CD may be purchased from Santa Cruz Fed-Ex Kinko's on Laurel Street in downtown Santa Cruz or on campus at XpressIt!, located next to the Bay Tree Bookstore.